“It’s a collective reminder for everyone to take artists seriously.”
In a society that continues to place value on speed, convenience, and simplicity there is one contingent that is working to help save us all — artists. This latest collection was brought to life by Afritina Coker, a visual storyteller who describes her work as “elevating the black experience” and “turning honest moments into regal art.
Secure The Art is a capsule collection of items that bring art into focus… its value, its preciousness, and the artists craft. Below is an interview we did with Afritina about this collaboration.
What initially got you into photography?
I feel like there were numerous factors that contributed to my journey towards photography. And they all came to a bit of an intersection around 2016 which led to me take the plunge and finally pick up a camera. But essentially, I have always been infatuated with visual storytelling. Especially editorial fashion. I admired from afar for years but decided to take a chance and try photography for myself. I purchased a refurbished camera, took my first tragically horrible photo shoot, and completely fell in love with the art form. lol. Being behind the camera lens, I knew I was in the right place and was committed to learn and grow. I’ve never looked back.
What is a creative challenge that you are trying to tackle with your work today? (you could address your style, your favorite forms of the art, etc.)
One creative challenge that I am currently trying to tackle is to make sure that I truly take the time I need to create honest work. With social media, I think it’s become a very common thing to create things that are sort of “gimmick” like. And to create work that is rushed. I don’t think anyone intentionally does this, it’s just sort of how social media has shifted and influenced artist culture. But it’s important to me to take the proper time to sit with my work and let it take its time. And to do a heart check with myself regularly when I create. Ask questions like “what is my message here?”, “Is this something truly important to me, or am I being heavily influenced by a current trend?”, “will I stand by this piece of work a year from now?”…ya know, questions like that.
What is the meaning behind the message “Secure the Art”?
Secure the Art means a few things. It’s a bit of a layered idiom. First, it is a play on words, similar to the saying “Secure the Bag”. Secure the bag essentially means, “get to the money”, or “secure the funds”. We as a society put such a large priority on capitalism. And understandably so, we all gotta eat. But art is such a precious creative form to me that I think it’s super important to invest in artists. They create for the things unseen, like the soul. Art is always a worthy investment. So yea, Secure the Art.
It also holds the double meaning of taking on the responsibility of securing the art form. For artists to demand their worth, for investors and businesses to respect the intellect that it takes to create great works, to encourage artists to create from a place of honesty despite outside pressure, things like that. It’s a collective reminder for everyone to take artists seriously. Being an artist within any creative medium is a super precious gift and it shouldn’t be belittled. The future of art depends on all of us to take it seriously and to respect the way in which it truly keeps society hopeful and dreaming and feeling.
Could you share some of the unique challenges that creatives face in today’s environment?
I think a big challenge for creatives in today’s environment is probably access. Access to where the work resides. I don’t think everyone has to turn their creative passions into careers. But those who would like to, there is actually a ton of work to be had out there. Making themselves available to be seen by those looking to hire then can seem like such an unreachable task. It’s difficult. Especially for minority creatives. I don’t know that I have any true answers to remedy this as I live in this exact space of tension as a creative myself, but awareness on everyone’s part is the beginning of change.
Also share what’s great about it. What’s the opportunity?
With these challenges, for me specifically, it has really pushed me to continue to create organically. To make art and photography that truly gives me life and helps me really express what’s on my heart. I have this beautiful season of creating art for arts sake. It won’t always be this way. I see myself creating more consistent work for clients in my future. It’s slowly starting to happen already. And I won’t have this sort of time anymore. To create playfully. Or to explore as freely as I can now while I’m truly calling the creative shots. It will be less often. This time is mine. And I don’t want to miss it because I’m steadily obsessing over the future.